Is Twilight Really So Bad?

It seems like it was only yesterday that we were told the Harry Potter books and movies were going to turn children into witches and warlocks. Mark Driscoll, pastor of the Mars Hill Church, recently went off on the Twilight Saga’s story, success and its fans on his church website. He called Twilight “porn” for teenage girls.

With all due respect, I think that Driscoll is overreacting. He rightly has disgust as he points out that there are some teenage fans of Twilight who reportedly have been biting each other and then licking or sucking the blood. He cited an ABC News story quoting Paola Hernandez, age 15 who said some of her classmates, cut their skin so they can taste one another’s blood. ‘That means you’re stuck with them, they have your blood inside of them and you have their blood and so you’re closer to each other,’ she said.

Driscoll referenced seeing a “Teenage Vampire Romance” section at Barnes & Noble and said that he was glad that his daughter saw through such “demonic deception.”

I get his concern when reading about some of the silliness and even disturbing things that some fans of the film are doing. But does that mean that there’s something evil about reading or watching a story that includes vampires? Should I never eat a bowl of Count Chocula again?

Sometimes people get too wrapped up in stories, it’s true! One might say that people who go to Star Trek conventions are a bit too taken by that story. And, yes, there is escapism in fantasizing about other worlds, imaginary creatures and supernatural powers.

As a boy I dressed up as Dracula year after year to go trick or treating. I colored my hair blue, put in some plastic fangs and dawned a black cape. To me it was pure silliness. I was pretending.

Is that so much different than playing “cowboys and Indians”? I did that quite a bit as a boy as well. I had a toy gun that made loud, gun-like noises as I pretended to shoot the other kid playing with me. He’d fall down and pretend that he was…bleeding. And then there was always the pretend death scene, whereupon whoever had been “shot” took a deep breath and in dramatic fashion breathed his last.

So we pretended we were killing each other – often in cold blood! If I really wanted to, I bet I could write an article on how evil that was and even call it “demonic deception.” After all, it was making light of a terrible, even tragic thing – murder!

One other thing I can do is open my Old Testament. Try it and you’ll read about some pretty messed up things. Messed up things in the Bible? Yep. For example, a king who was said to be a man after God’s own heart had a woman’s husband killed so that he could more easily have sex with the remaining widow.

Or how about when the Israelites put sheep blood on their doorsteps so that a passing angel of death wouldn’t kill them. That’s pretty creepy when I think about it. And if we look further we’ll see adultery, incest, murder, wars, perversion, and lots and lots of blood in a number of seemingly pointless tragedies. Hollywood can’t really compete with those stories.

Am I knocking the Bible? Of course not. My point is that the stories of history such as the ones in the Bible and the stories of imagination are both stories and sometimes the bad guys do bad things. Sometimes the good guys do bad things. If there wasn’t a villain in a story it’d be pretty boring don’t you think? I guess we could sanitize everything. Maybe take the witch out of The Wizard of Oz for example (and those evil flying monkeys). And we could clean up history by pretending that Abraham Lincoln really wasn’t murdered. The Twilight Zone was pretty creepy come to think of it. I guess that’s out too.

Or we could decide that there are stories where people do certain things that aren’t always good. In Westerns, cowboys are going to shoot some folks. Aliens are going to kill people in Star Wars. Ret isn’t going to give a darn what Scarlet does. Evil robots are going to transform and attack. Gargamel is going to chase little innocent Smurfs. Skeletor is going to cast spells to try to kill Heman. And Bella is going to love Edward even though he’s a blood-sucking vampire.

Remember that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet both committed suicide! Last time I checked that’s still standard reading in our schools. Where are the preachers slamming Shakespeare’s stories? It’s almost the opposite with him since even the Christian community views Shakespeare’s works as classy, sophisticated art. Yet his most popular work had two teenagers in love who committed suicide for Pete’s sake!

Perhaps we should teach our children to have the maturity to know that sometimes people (real or imaginary) will do things that aren’t good. Don’t expect fiction or film writers to write stories that have no bad guys where nothing bad ever happens or where the heros are absolutely and completely perfect. Who could relate to that? Who would read or watch that? Just because a movie is popular doesn’t mean we have to hate it. We’ve got to do a better job of picking our battles and for some reason I’m just thinking that a faddish vampire movie just might not be the best place to focus our energy. Twilight does talk an awful lot about eternal life and I’m sure that’s part of the allure of vampires. Maybe we could take that to heart since it is, after all, our job to communicate the message that Jesus Christ offers eternal life without requiring anyone to have their necks bitten.

Written by Lee Wilson. For more information on Lee’s best-selling paranormal romance novel, “The Last Hybrid: Bloodline of Angels,” click here.